Sunday, 30 December 2012

There is sweet music here that softer...

Some poets have made enough from one lyric to buy houses - Tennyson purchased Farringford House on the Isle of Wight on the back of Come into the Garden Maud (and of course Walter Scott purchased Abbotsford after publishing and bestselling the Lady of the Lake.)

A choral version of There is sweet music here another popular lyric of Tennyson's can be found here; it is just one version of many. Or make your own...and send it to us.

There is sweet music here that softer falls
Than petals from blown roses on the grass,
Or night-dews on still waters between walls
Of shadowy granite, in a gleaming pass;
Music that gentlier on the spirit lies,
Than tir'd eyelids upon tir'd eyes;
Music that brings sweet sleep down from the blissful skies.
Here are cool mosses deep,
And thro' the moss the ivies creep,
And in the stream the long-leaved flowers weep,
And from the craggy ledge the poppy hangs in sleep.

from the Lotos Eaters Alfred Lord Tennyson

Details of other versions can be found here

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Poetry shelf

If the holidays are hanging about your hands, find the bookshelf where you store your poetry books. Or better still the family you are staying with's textbooks and Victoriana -  your own or somebody else's - or even that row of books you never look at in the community hall or charity shop. Pull out one and read P.33.

Let us know what happens next.

BEATS on the Rio Grande, Texas, USA 11th January 2013

Our first event of 2013 featuring beatnicks (sic) reading Poetry! Visual Art and Jazzy Beats!

Watch out for the likes of Octavio Quintanilla and Amalia Ortiz.

Head for Hinovations Art Studio 1009 Laurel McAllen TX from 7.30pm  for 8pm (CST).

Find out more here

Monday, 24 December 2012

Christmas Eve

I feel obliged to rescue this poem from a Christmas carol website and give it some air. If you grew up in a country place or live in one now, the sense of possibility is omnipresent.

Some people consider this a poem of disillusionment but I don't think I am one of them.

The Oxen by Thomas Hardy

Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
"Now they are all on their knees,"
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearthside ease.

We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.

So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
"Come; see the oxen kneel,

"In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
Our childhood used to know,"
I should go with him in the gloom,
Hoping it might be so’

I am not the first to think of this obviously. There is a closer reading here

Poetry magazines online

English magazines predominantly (with a few noted exceptions!) on a slightly rebranded site. Worth adding to your favourites if you haven't seen it before. Or if you are actively trying to publish there.

A missing magazine

You can find out more here

Friday, 21 December 2012

Bitch reviews

It is so tempting isn't it? Using a review to promote yourself or score a point or worse...

It isn't new either. The bitch review has been in existence as long as writers. Walter Scott had a long-standing hatred of his antagonistic reviewer Francis Jeffrey in the Edinburgh Review. Even going so far as to publish himself anonymously in a different series of novels against his own already anonymous works to escape what he felt was a personal antipathy.

p&g was minded of the bitch review when reading a recent UK Times newspaper poetry critique. It concerned the new title Stag's Leap by Sharon Olds. I suppose the tone is set in the opening line:

"Sharon Olds (b1942) is the leading ­contemporary exponent of the “confessional” mode in American poetry..."

Goodness me! Twenty years ago when I was studying poetry at Ohio State University Sharon Olds was already known as a leading American poet. Period.

The reviewer goes on to pull apart her work in a patronising way that suggests she doesn't know how to string a line together. Odd. Sometime poets work like that in my opinion. Anti-structure. Not a stanza crime just a technique.

Anyway you can see what you make of it here (afraid you have to log in...)

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Re View

I have been writing a review for The Eildon Tree the Scottish Borders arts magazine. It is a pure luxury to read something several times and draw some connections between the work and other ideas, authors and their books. At a time, when most of us are busy running around and getting nowhere fast, I would recommend it.

My racing around has taken me up the same road to the same place 6 times in the past 24 hours. Rain and fog and darkness. The Scottish day dawns just before nine and ends just after half past three. Windscreen is a mist of rock salt splatter. I concentrate on getting from A to B and the white line at the road side to take me where I need to go.

Re-viewing on the other hand is a whole landscape with a new map. A spot of prospecting, a grid of connections and a satisfying algorithm. Even the missing pieces can delight.

Pick up that familiar book again even if you are describing it only to yourself.

See things.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

The meaning of woods

What have you written in a wood or after visiting one? As an exercise I would recommend sitting in a wood listening and reflecting and writing then or after. Or sleeping in a wood. Possibly not under a rookery like Roger Deacon. But then again...

The Woodland Trust have a new mini-site dedicated to sharing people's creative interaction with woods. Take a look. Visit your imaginary forest. Make your own journey through trees.

You can find out more here

Winter poem: win competition

Short sell-by date on this free to enter competition for Winter poems. (And they don't have to be snowy...)

And you could win a hundred pounds of Amazon vouchers for the New Year. Hurry up though as the deadline is first thing 28th December 2012. Better than sales shopping...

Find out more here

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

A history of poetry performance in the UK

40 years of British poetry under a virtual roof.

"This sample of British poetry readings...reveals a diverse range of voicing styles, which make distinct use of cadence, intonation and pace - acoustic devices which can develop or even transform the semantics of a poem."

Highlights in this archive hosted by the University of Southampton include:

  • Hugh MacDiarmid
  • Jackie Kay (go and see her live too)
  • Attila the Stockbroker
  • Patience Agbabi

You can find out more here:

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Poet of the year etc.

After the success of our inaugural p&g poetry competition won by Stella Pye, we are now looking for nominations for a poet who has done great things in 2012.

It is that time of year.

Walter Scott (1808), engraved by John Horsburgh after Sir Henry Raeburn, 18--? (Corson P.7399)

Really we are looking for any good stuff and our taste is obviously for excellent poetry and nerdy background information but happy to pass on outlandish anecdotes too.

Your nominations: get in touch at the usual address.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Aurélia Lassaque 12th December 2012 Oxford England

Lassaque is a contemporary Occitan poet and she will read with Lucile Deslignères, Sabine Chaouche and Claire Trévien in Occitan, French and English. Music is provided by gaita piper Mano Panforreteio.

Solstice and other Poems

This event runs from 7pm until 9pm at the beautiful Albion Beatnik Bookstore on Walton Street in Jericho Oxford (another former haunt of p&g). You will need to pay £2 to get in but that will be worth it for the music alone.

Aurélia Lassaque is a poet writing in French and Occitan. She is interested in the interconnections between poetry and the visual arts and has worked with Robert Lobet and other artists. She is based near Albi in south-western France.

Read about more here and here

You're going to die: poetry...4th December 2012 San Francisco USA

Not in Bugarach. (Co-incidentally the peak of which poetandgeek climbed some years ago right up and through la fenêtre).


You can perform although there are featured readers too. The organisers state the following - with admirable honesty -

"Please don’t perform anything with a setup that takes much more time than the time it takes for you to walk onstage. Honestly, plugging things in endlessly is boring."

Anyway this event is in San Francisco from 20:00 until 23:00 in PST and it is tonight.

Go to Viracocha 998 Valencia Street and enjoy. (It is worth going to Viracocha anyway.)

More details here

And by the way thank you to Thierry Strub for the use of this beautiful picture of the Pic de Bugarach.

Un peu de magie

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